DIG 3130 Programming For Artists

  1. weeks 1-5
  2. weeks 6-10
  3. weeks 11-16
  4. students + links


Instructor: Katerie Gladdys
Class: M+W 8:30-11:30
Meeting Place: FAC306
My Office: FAC301
Office Hours: W 2:45 - 5:00 or by appointment
Office: FAC301
Email: kgladdys@ufl.edu

Course Description

The goal of this course is to learn fundamental programming concepts enabling the digital artist to take full advantage of the range of computer-mediated interactivity. We will learn using the open source tool, Processing. The course will focus on the use of programming in the production of digital media artworks. Our investigation will be contextualized by a survey of work created by media artists who use programming as an integral part of their production, as well as, artists who use programming as a means to an end. Students will learn to write and compile progams using Processing's built-in IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Students will produce basic executable programs with an emphasis on visual and auditory art, and will develop an understanding of the conceptual underpinnings of the form. We will start out slow and build upon our knowledge as we prepare for the development of a fully realized work of art at the end of the semester.

3 credits: Prerequisite: junior level digital media major or permission of instructor


Students will demonstrate understanding of the following principles and techniques through studio assignments

    • 1. Become aware of the history and foundation of programming as related to digital media art.
      2. Develop a comfort with basic programming methodologies and techniques.
      3. Gain an awareness of related work in the field.
      4. Learn to engage in meaningful discussion with another discipline.
      5. Whether programming becomes a part of the artists practice or not, learn
      to understand when and how techniques might benefit the artists work.
      6. Learn to propose and present ideas in a way that clearly demonstrates intent.

  • course structure

    WEEKS 1-5      Introduction, Pixels, Processing, Interaction, Variables, Conditionals, Loops, Functions, Objects,DeBugging, Libraries

    WEEKS 6-10      Arrays, Algorithms, Mathematics, 3-D, Images, Video, Text,

    WEEKS 10-16   Data Input, Data Streams , Sound, Java, External Devices and Input, Working on Final Projects

    required materials


    Operating system with the latest version of Java.

    Processing open source development tool.
    Depending on your choice of projects you may decide to purchase hardware necessary to complete an interactive project such as sensors or a microcontroller.

    readings will be .pdfs
    Learning Processing: A Beginner's Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction by Daniel Schiffman
    Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists by Casey Reas ISBN 0262182629

    other materials

    graph paper

    Web space

    Software:Processing and latest version of Java

    grading and evaluation

    The purpose of grading is to clearly and accurately pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your progress. You will receive grades on all assignments and receive a progress report and meet with me individually at midterm. This report will evaluate progress, note strengths and areas for improvement. Your overall grade will be based on your understanding of the information and ideas discussed, and your formal, technical, and conceptual progress as demonstrated in projects and exercises, and professionalism during the course.

    Students will be evaluated through exercises, participation, research, presentations, and technical proficiency with the various software applications, their aesthetic application, and problem solving.

    Note: Overall effort and general attitude towards your work, and improvement during the semester will factor into your grade. Assignments will be evaluated on the following criteria:

    All grades are tabulated based on your assignment numerical grade, process book grade, critical essay/presentation and your participation and attendance. You must speak with your instructor within one week of receiving a grade in order to dispute an assignment grade. You may speak to your instructor at any point during the semester to discuss your participation grade.

    grading scale

    A    100–90: Superlative work: Careful attention to craft and presentation. Intent and execution of the piece work together in significant and original way. Goes beyond merely solving the problem- one performance at this level is visibly outstanding.

    B+  89-86: Very fine work: Almost superlative. A few minor changes could be made to bring the piece together. Again goes beyond merely solving the problem.

    B    Above average: Solution to the problem and idea are well planned. Execution is well done. This is an honorable grade.

    C+  79-76: A bit above average: Slipping in levels of originality, craft, and presentation. The piece does not work as well as a unified whole or statement yet effort was made. Solid average work.

    C    75-70: You solved the problem: The requirements of the problem are met in a relatively routine way.

    D+   69-66: You have solved the problem the requirements of the problem are met in a relatively routine way. There is room for improving skills and concepts. Quite a bit of work may have gone into the assignment, but does it work?

    D    65-60: Inadequate work: The requirements of the problem are not addressed. The piece represents careless and /or incomplete effort. Some criteria met, work substandard.

    E    59–0: Unacceptable work and effort

    Work that is late will be graded one letter grade (10%) down for each day after the deadline of the assignment. Work tunrned in after 3 days receives a failing grade.

    ( A C represents satisfactory work, regular attendance, and successful accomplishment of the course.)

    distribution of grades and Projects

    attendance + participation

    This class is very experiential and experimental in nature. We will do a lot of in class activities for which you will get credit. Many of these activites can not be "made up" outside of class. You will miss out on a great deal if you do not come. There is a correlation in studio classes between attendance and final grades. You have a better chance of doing well if you come to class. Only three (3) unexcused absences will be allowed. Every unexcused absence beyond this will lower your grade by a letter grade. A total of seven absences, excused or unexcused, will result in a grade of “E” for the class. Excused absences include religious holidays, a verifiable death in the immediate family or with a doctor’s note that you give me the day you return from an illness.

    What constitutes participation?
    • contribution to class discussions
    • asking relevant questions
    • soliciting responses from others
    • preparing questions in advance
    • encouraging constructive criticism
    • listening to what others have to say
    • examinig the ways your ideas influence formal and conceptual choices in your work
    • consideration for classmates
    • attendance
    • positive attitude and open mind
    expectations for class participation

    Participation by all members is critical to the success of this class. Participation is evaluated with respect to both quality and quantity. Excellent participation is a given and includes contributing to ongoing discussions and critiques, suggests alternative ways of approaching projects, along with a thoughtful process and strong work ethic. Your development as an artist hinges on your ability to make effective choices and express ideas clearly. Participate in a responsive manner during critique, class discussion and blogging.  Other apsects of participation include safe and thoughtful use of equipment and facilities.  You are expected to refrain from personal communication devices (tm, im, e-mail, etc.) and non-course related web surfing during class time.  

    lateness and leaving early

    Attendance is required. More than three absences will reduce your final grade by one full grade.  Six absences will result in a failing grade. I take attendance at the beginning of each class. If you are not present at that time, you will be marked as absent unless you see me at the end of class letting me know that you came so I can correct my attendance sheet in which case you will be marked as late as opposed to absent.

    Arrive to class on time, with the appropriate materials and work through the entire class.  You are late if you arrive after your name has been called when role is taken.  Attending class unprepared for a discussion, critique, workday, or presentation will be considered an absence. You are expected to stay for the entire class period. I generally check to see who is around after the break. Three tardies or early self-dismissal will count as one absence. If you know that you will be late or absent, please let me know in advance by contacting me at kgladdys@ufl.edu. Both lateness and absence will also have an effect on your participation grade.

    Announced changes to the course calendar, demonstrations, or general classroom critiques demand your presence; compensatory work of another kind will not be accepted in lieu of missed instruction.

    A missed class does not constitute an extension of an assignment! 

    late assignments

    The weekly homework projects for this class need to be completed on time. If you turn a project after the deadline, 10% will be deducted for each day the project is late. An assignment more than 3 days late will receive an F. Assignments that are 10 points or less may not be made up unless you have an excused absence or have contacted me in advance. If you arrive late and miss the better part of an in class assignment, you are welcome to do the assignment on your own time, but I will not give credit for it. It is not fair to the students who were on time.

    keeping up

    If you are having difficulties for any reason in understanding the material and completing the work for this class, you need to make an appointment to meet and talk with me.  Do not wait until the last minute (right before an assignment is due) or until you are totally lost to contact me.

    food and drink

    This class is held in the lab so their is no food and drink.


    I want this class to be fun and meaningful with everybody feeling comfortable to contribute to the dialogue. This is how we learn. Effective learning/teaching is a creative and co-constructed experience with give and take between teacher and student and between student and student. Key to facilitating an environment for learning is respect. Disruptive and disrepective behavior make for stressful atmosphere which is not conducive to learning. Please observe the following class policies.

    what you can expect from me

    general university policies and services


    This resource covers most policies and procedures important to students - http://www.dso.ufl.edu/stg/

    accommodations for students with disabilities

    Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation. Disability Office -– http://www.dso.ufl.edu/OSD/

    contacts for university counseling services

    Includes personal, academic, crisis and career services. Dial 392-1575.


    contacts for student healthcare center

    Dial 911 for medical emergencies.

    Dial 392-1161 for urgent after-hours medical questions.

    Dial 392-1171 for after-hours mental health assistance.


    safety and security

    University Police Department - http://police.ufl.edu/

    Dial 911 for emergencies.

    Dial 392-1111 otherwise.

    reading days

    The two days prior to the start of examinations in the fall and spring semesters, generally a Thursday and Friday, are designated reading days. No classes or exams are held on these days. Instead, students are encouraged to use these days for study and review.

    twelve-day rule

    Students who participate in official athletic or scholastic, extracurricular activities are permitted twelve (12) scholastic day  absences per semester without penalty. In any case, it is the student’s responsibility to maintain satisfactory academic  performance and attendance.

    absences for religious holidays

    Students, upon prior notification of their instructions, shall be excused from class or other scheduled academic activity to observe a religious holy day of their faith. Students shall be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up the material or activities covered in their absence. A student who believes that he/she has been unreasonably denied an education benefit due to religious beliefs or  practices may seek redress through the student grievance procedure.

    honesty policy

    An academic honesty offense is defined as the act of lying, cheating or stealing academic information so that one gains academic advantage. As a University of Florida student, one is expected to neither commit nor assist another in committing an academic honesty  violation. Additionally, it is the student’s duty to report observed academic honesty violations. These can include: cheating, plagiarism, bribery, misrepresentation, conspiracy, or fabrication.


    computer use and acceptable use policy

    All faculty, staff, and students of the University of Florida are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.



    disruptive behavior   

    Faculty, students, Administrative and Professional staff members, and other employees [hereinafter referred to as “member(s)” of the University], who intentionally act to impair, interfere with, or obstruct the mission, purposes, order, operations, processes, and functions of the University shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action by University authorities for misconduct, as set forth in the applicable rules of the Board of Regents and the University and state law governing such actions. A detailed list of disruptive conduct may be found at http://www.aa.ufl.edu/aa/Rules/1008.htm

    Be advised that you can and will be dismissed from class if you engage in disruptive behavior.

    critical dates on the university calendar


    It is your responsibility to check the class website in a regular basis.  Generally, I announce any changes to the syllabus in class.